Appropriations Update

On November 8, The Census Project released a letter signed by 83 national, state, and local organizations, urging Congress to provide the Census Bureau with no less than $1,442,401,000 in the final Fiscal Year 2022 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill—an amount approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and $10 million more than the level recommended by the U.S. Senate CJS subcommittee. The letter also reiterates census stakeholders’ support for providing the Census Bureau with $2 billion in FY 2022.

As of November 30, further action on the FY 2022 CJS appropriations bill had not been taken. The current continuing resolution, which is keeping the federal government temporarily funded, expires December 3, 2021.

Policy Update

Senate Approves Robert Santos As Next Census Bureau Director
On November 4, 2021, the United States Senate voted 58-35 to approve the nomination of Robert Santos to be next Census Bureau director. With the Senate’s confirmation, Mr. Santos becomes the first Latino and the first person of color to serve as a permanent, Senate-confirmed Census Bureau Director. Mr. Santos’ term begins on January 1, 2022.

The saga of his Senate confirmation began on October 7 when Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) asked the Senate to take up and pass the Santos nomination (through December 31, 2026) under “unanimous consent” (UC). Senator Peters’ UC request was denied when Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) objected (See Census Project October 2021 update for additional details). Senator Scott’s action set the stage for the November 4 debate and roll call vote. Ten Republicans (Blunt (R-MO); Capito (R-WV); Collins (R-ME), Cornyn (R-TX), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Murkowski (R-AK); Portman (R-OH); Romney (R-UT); and Toomey (R-PA) joined 48 Democrats to approve his confirmation. Seven members of the Senate missed the vote.

Census Delays Release of ACS 5-year estimates
On November 10, the Census Bureau announced the unprecedented decision to delay the release of the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates. The decision, which four former Census Bureau Directors endorsed, was made as a result of COVID-19 non-response challenges and to give the Bureau additional time to refine its methodology. The Bureau expects to announce a revised release schedule in December 2021.

Honest Census Communications Act Introduced in U.S. House and Senate
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18) reintroduced the Honest Census Communications Act (S. 3133 and H.R. 5815), legislation that would prohibit anyone from communicating or causing to be communicated “any census-related information by any means, including by means of any covered communication, or to produce any census-related information with the intent that the census-related information be communicated”:

  1. “knowing the census-related information to be materially false”; and
  2. “with the intent to impede or prevent another person from participating in any census.”

S. 3133 and H.R. 5815 would apply to the decennial headcount, the ACS, the Economic Census and other similar Census Bureau surveys. On November 9, the Census Project posted a blog with additional details.

Modernizing the American Community Survey
The Federal Drive radio show with Tom Temin recently interviewed Howard Fienberg, co-director of The Census Project, about the American Community Survey (ACS) and improving the Census Bureau’s data infrastructure.

New report on Looking to Census 2030
On November 19, The Census Project shared a new report produced by a group of nonprofit foundations and their partners that evaluates the conduct of the 2020 Census. “Looking to Census 2030: Findings and Recommendations from Census 2020 Partners and Funders” is a compilation of findings and over 100 recommendations from funders, philanthropy-serving organizations, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders, including complete count committees from across the country who worked with the Democracy Funders Census Subgroup and the Census Counts Campaign housed at the Leadership Conference Education Fund.

The report’s analysis includes very specific observations, as well as suggestions for broad, and in some cases, very significant shifts in the way the Bureau has approached its mission over the past three decennials. The executive summary and the full report, as well as a blog, are posted on The Census Project home page.

Census Bureau News

On November 2, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the Census Data Equity Initiative for Underserved Communities.

On November 3, Census Bureau announced it is releasing a series of technical notes on Select Topics in International Censuses. Another series of technical notes on measuring water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in a census were released on November 15.

The Census Bureau released a report, “Benefits Received by Veterans and Their Survivors,” on November 10.

On November 10, the Census Bureau announced that it will release Business Formation Statistics (BFS) as a standard data product starting next month.

Phase 7 of the Small Business Pulse Survey began on November 15.

On November 16, the Bureau announced that the Post Enumeration Survey Field Operations will begin November 29 continuing through March 2022.

The Census Bureau reveals Hartville, Missouri as the “center of population” for the United States.

Census Bureau Data Releases

The latest version of the Census Bureau Builder was released on November 1.

On November 17, the Census Bureau released the 2021 CPS ASEC Geographic Mobility detailed table package and updates to historical tables and graphs.

On November 23, the Census Bureau released new data tables from the 2020 Service Annual Survey (SAS).

On November 24, the Census Bureau released new data from Phase 7 of the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS), which measures the effect of changing business conditions during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as other major events such as hurricanes on our nation’s small businesses.

On November 29, estimates from the  Census Bureau’s annual America’s Families and Living Arrangements table package were released.

On November 30, the Census Bureau released experimental 1-year ACS estimates.

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